Study: Online retailers should keep holiday spirit all year long

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Study: Online retailers should keep holiday spirit all year long

By Dan Berthiaume - 01/17/2019
Retailers with a consistently compelling customer experience had the best online holiday season, according to a new study.

Adobe Analytics analyzed aggregated and anonymous data from Adobe Experience Cloud on more than 1 trillion online visits to US retailers and sales of more than 55 million unique products during the Nov. 1 – Dec. 31, 2018 holiday season. The analysis indicates 50% of online holiday revenues came from short-term holiday marketing strategies such as paid search, email, social and display advertising. However, the other 50% came from unaided tactics such as direct traffic and natural search, underpinning the need to maintain a superior customer experience all year long.

In total, Adobe Analytics data demonstrates online holiday shopping reached $126 billion in 2018, a 16.5% increase year-over-year. Average daily online revenue was over $2 billion for the first time ($2.1 billion on average), with 26 days of the 61-day period exceeding that mark.

The highest day for online sales revenue was Nov. 26, Cyber Monday. Consumers spent an average 40% more per day during the three weeks after Cyber Monday than the first three weeks of the season. The lowest day for online sales was Dec. 24, Christmas Eve.

Christmas Day, Adobe Analytics found, continues to be the most phone-centric day of the season, with smartphones comprising 61.1% of visits and 42.3% of revenue. Overall, smartphone share of online holiday revenue increased 6% and 8%, respectively, during weekends. The five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday accounted for $1 in $5 (19.2%) of total online retail revenue during the holidays. Adobe Analytics also found that retailers reached the $100 billion mark 11 days earlier in 2018 than they did in 2017 (Dec. 15 compared to Dec. 26).

Furthermore, Adobe Analytics analysis found some distinct shopping trends for retailers that have just an online presence compared to omnichannel retailers. For example, retailers that have both physical locations and online stores saw a 50% increase in the usage of buy online/pick up in store. In comparison, online-only retailers have lower cart abandonment than their omnichannel competitors, with consumers 44% more likely to complete their orders with a pure-play retailer.

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